If you and your partner have gotten to the point in wedding planning when you’re organizing your guest list, you may be wondering—do we need to have a wedding party? Do we even want to? There are pros and cons to having a wedding party, so read on to decide if you want to forgo this tradition or not.

Pro #1: It’s an easy way to honor the people closest to you.

Having a wedding party is a simple way to tell people that are close to you and your partner how much you love them. Whether you decide to have a maid of honor and best man or not (and whether you call them that or something else), being selected for someone’s wedding party is special.

BHLDN Bridesmaids and Blooms giveaway
BHLDN Bridesmaids and Blooms giveaway

Con #1: It can be hard to decide who should be in your wedding party.

If you’re someone who has a lot of friends and a large family—and you know they’ll all be hurt if they’re not in your wedding party—it might be worth skipping it just to save yourself the emotional labor of deciding who should be invited. Make everyone equal guests and avoid the fallout of hurting anyone’s feelings.

Pro #2: You don’t have to do things the traditional way.

Just because you do decide to have a wedding party doesn’t mean you suddenly have to adopt gendered, heteronormative traditions! You can skip titles like maid of honor or best man in favor of literally anything you (and your wedding party) want. You can have a wedding shower or a gender-neutral bachelor/bachelorette party. You can use the wedding party as an excuse to throw a huge sleepover the night before or after the wedding (if you’re not going on a honeymoon right away or at all). You can request everyone dress in rainbow or glitter if you want to or go casual and have no dress code at all.

Cancun resort lesbian destination beach wedding Rachel Campbell Equally Wed wedding party bride
Photo via Rachel Campbell Photography

Con #2: You might be faced with other people’s expectations.

One of the most frustrating things about wedding planning is that a day that’s supposed to be about you and your partner often involves managing other people’s opinions. If you decide to buck tradition or do things your own way, you might deal with expectations from friends or family members who think you should do something different. Other people may have their own feelings about your wedding, but at the end of the day, you should make a decision based on what you and your partner truly want.

Pro #3: It gives you one more reason to celebrate.

If you’re someone who gets super into celebrations and parties, having a wedding party just gives you one more opportunity to celebrate. You might pick out attendant gifts and have a get together to announce that you’re inviting people to be in your wedding party. You can take fun themed photos with your wedding party leading up to and during the wedding.

Fun, creative wedding in personal training studio attendants party friends
Photo by Lydia Cournoyer Photography

Con #3: It might be stressful for your friends and family.

Being part of someone’s wedding party can add stress, especially if you’re someone who is already anxious and doesn’t absolutely love weddings and big parties. If you opt not to have a wedding party, you might be saving some of your friends and family from a case of nerves and feeling like they’re financially obligated to do more than they can actually afford.

When in doubt, talk about it and compromise.

If you and your partner are still torn about whether a wedding party is the right choice, talk about it openly with one another (and maybe even with some of your closest people who might be invited to be in the party, if you’re comfortable). Get opinions from those you trust. If you choose to have a wedding party, how can you alleviate some of the cost and stress from the people you’re inviting? If you don’t, what can you do on the wedding day to honor and celebrate the people closest to you? There are many creative options out there—remember, this day is about you and the person you’re marrying. Make a decision that sits right with both of you, and the rest will fall into place.

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